Uttarakhand High Court : President decision is subject to judicial review

Wednesday, Apr 20, 2016,14:29 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Nainital | Legitimacy of the President’s decision to suspend Uttarakhand assembly is subject to judicial review as even he can go wrong, the Uttarakhand High Court observed today. Referring to the NDA government’s argument that the President took the decision to impose Article 356 of the Constitution in his political wisdom, a bench of Chief Justice K M Joseph and Justice V K Bist said, People can go wrong, be it the President or the judges.

The court also went on to say that Legitimacy of inference drawn by President from the material placed before him is open to judicial review. This observation was made after the Centre contended that the President’s understanding of the material before him would be different from that of the court.

The Government’s contention came after the bench said that from the reports sent by the Governor to the President, regarding the situation in the state, what we have understood is that everything was processing towards a floor test on March 28.

The bench was hearing arguments on the petition filed by the ousted Chief Minister Harish Rawat and related pleas challenging imposition of President’s rule in Uttarakhand. The high court also questioned whether the allegation that former Chief Minister Harish Rawat was hitting out at the nine Congress rebel MLAs would constitute material for imposing Article 356.

The court said the concern regarding the rebel MLAs was absolutely irrelevant and unacceptable. It also asked why the secrecy regarding the Cabinet notes on imposing President’s rule in the state and why it was not to be discussed in the court or even be given to the petitioner Rawat.

Yesterday also during the hearing, the division bench repeatedly maintained that irrespective of allegations of horse-trading and corruption, the only Constitutional way to test majority was to hold a floor test, which you still have to go for.

The Centre had also faced searching questions from the court which observed that if the reasons for imposition of Article 356 in the instant case, where ruling parties are different at the Centre and in the state, are accepted then it may lead to the central government watching with a magnifying glass where there is an opportunity for President’s rule.